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New charity set up for Charles Bonnet Syndrome

A new charity has been set up to help fund research into an illness, as well as to look after those suffering from it.

We thought it only right, given the nature of our business, to give a little publicity to the launch of Esme’s Umbrella – a charity which takes its name from the item we champion.

The organisation aims to make people aware of Charles Bonnet Syndrome, an illness named after the Swiss philosopher, who was the first person to record details of hallucinations suffered by people whose eyesight degenerates.

Esme’s Umbrella logo Charles Bonnet Syndrome | Jollybrolly News Image courtesy of @esmesumbrella

The illness can develop when a person’s eyesight becomes classed as ‘low-vision’. The condition causes sufferers to ‘see’ visual hallucinations which can be disturbing and even terrifying. The reason for this is that when the brain is faced with ‘blank spots’ where the eye has been damaged by macular disease, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, glaucoma or any other condition, the brain fills them with imagined images.

Some sufferers find walls, floors and ceilings can appear to be grids, checkerboards, or lattices while others see spiders, snakes or other animals and some people even see more alarming images which can appear threatening.

The reason for the launch of Esme’s Umbrella is to raise awareness of the condition. Many people say nothing when they find themselves suffering the symptoms, often fearing they are the precursor to dementia.

The campaign will aim to make clear that the condition is not related to mental health or any other illness, but due entirely to a loss of eyesight.

The campaign has been named Esme’s Umbrella as it was set up by Judith Potts in memory of her mother Esme, who suffered the condition. The logo features a white umbrella with polka dots, as an indication of what the organisation aims to do – to shelter all those affected by the disease, sufferers, researchers and doctors alike.

It has now been launched at a House of Commons reception hosted by Dr Sarah Wollaston and aims to get to work right away. To find out more tweet @esmesumbrella or email